It was nearly two years ago that the L.A. Police Department, in full riot regalia, fired rubber bullets and tear gas on an otherwise peaceful May Day immigration rally in MacArthur Park. We covered the stunning "May Day Melee" fairly extensively, as it was breaking here at the time. The story, which received a bit of national coverage at the time, also brought an ensuing spate of racist commenters over to The BRAD BLOG in response, many of whom blamed the victims in appalling screeds.
So a bit of good news on that front, today. On Wednesday, the LA City Council unanimously approved a settlement of nearly $13 million to those who were injured and mistreated by the LAPD that day. The agreement covers approximately 90% of the claims --- about 300 in total --- filed against the city and the LAPD alleging misconduct by the officers. There are still a few pending claims, two in federal court and 15 in state court, according to the LA Times, from some of the journalists and others who were also injured in the melee.
The Times reports that "Council President Eric Garcetti noted that the cost of the May Day agreement was enough to hire almost 130 police officers."
Councilman Ed Reyes, who represents the MacArthur Park area, recognized the importance of trying to set things right. "This was very, very critical," he's quoted in the Times. "Now we can say we acknowledge our mistakes; we are making every effort to address the weaknesses in our process, in our implementation as a Police Department, and more importantly recognizing that the community does matter."
Much of the shocking melee was caught on tape by both television stations and citizens at the rally. Among the most striking of the coverage from citizen journalists at the time was that of Jonathan Mann, whose terrifying video we ran at the time, and post again below as a reminder of what happened.
Below that, we also rerun his personal video response to the racist comments which came pouring in following coverage of the incident...back when fears of a massive immigrant invasion of the United States were being shamefully stoked by the GOP in hopes of political gain. Funny how the immigration "crisis" in America seems to have just disappeared at some point...